Fourth of July is one of the most exciting holidays. You have the smoky smell of fireworks, the bright flashes of light in the night sky, and the crackles and booms from mortar shells. Then there are the oohs and ahhs from the crowd along with all the laughing, shrieking, and shouting from the little ones. Commotion is part of the fun on Independence Day, but some dogs don’t appreciate it.
Maybe you know that your dog doesn’t enjoy Independence Day, or maybe this is your dog’s first Fourth of July, and you’re not sure how he will respond.
Even easygoing dogs like Goldendoodles can feel stressed, scared, or anxious when those fireworks start shooting off.
Does your dog hate Fourth of July?
You might already know how your dog feels about the holiday. If not you might be able to get a sense of how he will respond to the sights, sounds, and smells.
How does your dog usually handle surprises? When someone rings the doorbell, do they snarl and bark? Are they skittish, and do they startle easy? Do they get scared during thunderstorms?
Is your dog howling, panting, barking, shaking, or otherwise restless?
These are good indications that your dog might get stressed during the Fourth of July.
Help your dog grow accustomed to loud sounds and unexpected noises. Taking walks in public places exposes your dog to new sights and sounds. Some people try to desensitize their dogs to loud noises by playing recordings of thunder or fireworks. However, noise desensitization takes time and it doesn’t always work, so don’t trust that your dog will be fine and dandy when those rockets start flying.
Make sure your dog gets lots of walks and play time in the sun before the big night. A worn out pup might just sleep through that big scary fireworks display.
If your dog is highly anxious and really dislikes Fourth of July festivities, consider talking to the vet; he may suggest a prescription for your dog.
Find a happy place
Dogs that don’t like fireworks should stay home on the Fourth of July. Leaving your dog at home is the best option unless you know for sure that he can handle the excitement.
Don’t leave your dog outside on the Fourth of July, however. Create a comfortable space indoors for your dog to feel safe in. Have a chew toy, and treats at the ready. Keep doors, windows, and curtains closed; this can help keep out the scent and the light of fireworks.
You can also play music or put something on the TV to help mask the sounds of fireworks.
Fight or flight
Some dogs hide when they get scared, and other dogs bolt. According to the AKC, more pets go missing on July 4th and 5th than any other day.
Check your fence; make sure there aren’t any holes, gaps, or loose boards that your dog might get through.
Also, make sure that your dog has a microchip and a collar with your contact information.
Safety in numbers
If possible, avoid leaving your dog alone on Independence Day. Your dog will feel more comfortable if he has company. Your calm presence will reassure your dog, and help him stay calm. Members of your family can take turns staying with your pet.